September 2021
Local Band on the Breakthrough Path
Ponderosa Grove reaches for the brass ring

Prescott is home to more than its share of talented, creative people, and anyone bothering to look can see that the city brims with exceptional musicians. Many keep relatively low profiles while developing worthwhile music. Others emerge as time goes by and provide pathways for new artists. New band Ponderosa Grove, combining deep experience with fresh passion, hopes to put Prescott on the map in a big way.

Led by Drew Hall and Candace Devine and backed by revolving collaborations of accompanying musicians, Ponderosa Grove delivers a sound that Drew calls “multi-leveled.”

“It has a couple of different through lines. Vocal harmony is at the heart of it. It’s mostly Americana, mixed with an R&B-soulfeel.” While the pair began their collective fairly recently, they’ve already reached about 150,000 streams on Spotify. They met through their experience on stage.

Lead guitarist Hall plays a role in many other bands, with performances with Arizona Music Hall of Fame honoree Walt Richardson, Slim Gambill, and many successful local bands, including The Cheektones, THiS Trio and Big Daddy D and the Dynamites. He is versatile and open to many different genres and sounds, from flamenco to the blues. His ongoing collaborations and heavy teaching schedule keep him mixing with all sorts of artists in Prescott, giving him a unique and knowledgeable take on the music.

“I’ve been gigging in Prescott for 25 years, and playing music since I was13; I’m coming up on 31 years. This band has been roughly a year in the making, although (Candace and I) have played together before this, for about three years.”

Candace Devine, the band’s lead vocalist, has a long history in the music industry. Attending San Francisco state and Cal State Northridge universities for musical theatre and performance while working as a backup singer for Christina Aguilera, she went on to complete the Grammy-nominated songwriting duo David and Devine. Other notable accomplishments include voiceover work in the Lindsay Lohan movie Georgia Rule, performing in the film Boneville, appearing on Tony Lucca’s record with Sara Bareilles, and doing voice work for commercials. She moved to Prescott from Los Angeles after the birth of her son. “I jumped back in full-throttle, and it’s been a wild ride ever since.”

Candace released her own solo album, Believe, and two EPs with David and Devine before forming Ponderosa Grove with Hall. The duo is supported by a roster of contributing artists, creating new experiences with each show. Of the ever-changing performances, Hall says, “It’s a community effort. It depends on what the gig is. We can go out as a duo, a trio, a five-piece, an eight-piece, even coming out with a horn section sometimes.”

During the peak of the pandemic, livestreams of the band playing alone at locations like The Raven and parking lots of businesses were available on its Facebook page, keeping the band present online through its early development.

The band will be appearing at Music Prize in Louisiana, one of the nation’s top ten arts festivals, featuring music, film and even the culinary arts.

“An element of the festival is that you get to do a lot of networking with professionals in the music industry,” says Devine, “You can work on music placements and other opportunities. I’ve been very fortunate in having a lot of fingers in the music industry, but anytime you can run that scope of influence, any time you can get the music to the next set of ears, you’re always going to be putting yourself in a good position.”

The band has placed among the best at the festival, earning them the opportunity to compete for an overall event prize. “We’re very honored to be in the top 10.We’re very excited.”

Recent performances include events at the Highlands Center, and they perform regularly in the Summer Concert Series on the Square. The group has upcoming performances in Mesa on September 10 and Hendrix Theatre in Prescott on December 16.

Promoting the single “Waterline,” the band released a music video in June via its YouTube channel, already netting over 60,000 views. It features multiple clips of people from all over the US sharing messages for the world on signs while lip-syncing the lyrics. The channel also offers the original song “Changin’,” as well as other videos, including live performances and covers.

To track upcoming shows, view music releases and download the band’s album The Debut, check You can follow the band on its Instagram page (@ponderosagrove) and watch its evolution on Facebook (Ponderosa Grove).

Laura Cummings is a young adult raised in Prescott whoc ontinues to live locally. Courtesy photos.

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